Wilson: Plame Not Clandestine When Novak Wrote Story
Former Ambassador Joseph Wilson acknowledges in a CNN interview that, “My wife was not a clandestine officer the day that Bob Novak blew her identity.”
Rove Learned CIA Agent’s Name From Novak (Newsday)
Chief presidential adviser Karl Rove testified to a grand jury that he talked with two journalists before they divulged the identity of an undercover CIA officer but that he originally learned about the operative from the news media and not government sources, according to a person briefed on the testimony. The person, who works in the legal profession and spoke only on condition of anonymity because of grand jury secrecy, told The Associated Press that Rove testified last year that he remembers specifically being told by columnist Robert Novak that Valerie Plame, the wife of a harsh Iraq war critic, worked for the CIA.
Rove testified that Novak originally called him the Tuesday before Plame’s identity was revealed in July 2003 to discuss another story. The conversation eventually turned to Plame’s husband, Joseph Wilson, a former ambassador who was strongly criticizing the Bush administration’s use of faulty intelligence to justify the war in Iraq, the person said.
In an interview on CNN earlier Thursday before the latest revelation, Wilson kept up his criticism of the White House, saying Rove’s conduct was an “outrageous abuse of power … certainly worthy of frog-marching out of the White House.” But at the same time, Wilson acknowledged his wife was no longer in an undercover job at the time Novak’s column first identified her. “My wife was not a clandestine officer the day that Bob Novak blew her identity,” he said.
Despite the initial outrage over the outing of a covert operative for crass political purposes–which I joined in–the facts began to disprove that. Not only was Valerie Plame not an undercover operative but her identity was public knowledge well before the Novak story.
It has been clear from very, very early in this case that the intent of whoever divulged the Wilson-Plame connection was not to punish Wilson by outing his wife but rather to diminish Wilson’s credibility as an honest broker.